Though teens may feel like sports drinks and energy drinks give them that extra edge during late night study sessions, the beverages may come with a few surprising risks. A new study suggests that consuming these types of drinks often comes with a host of other unhealthy behaviors.
Most would agree that energy drinks are not known for any type of real health benefit, but what’s news is that teens who drink energy and sports drinks are also more likely to take part in risky or unhealthy behaviors. HealthDay reports about the new study published in the Journal of Nutrition that surveyed nearly 3,000 middle school and high school aged children.
Researchers found that about 40% of the kids surveyed drank an energy drink at least once a week and that boys were more likely to consume this type of beverage than girls.
And though we may think of sports drinks like Gatorade as the healthier option since boys who consume these types of beverages were more likely to take part in organized sports, they were also logging more hours watching TV and playing video games. Both boys and girls who regularly partake in sports drinks were also more likely to have tried cigarettes. Researchers warm that sports drinks are okay for kids who take part in vigorous activities in the hot weather, but when they are consumed every day they are probably just encouraging weight gain and tooth decay.
For teens who regularly consume energy drinks like Red Bull, they were not more likely to partake in physical activity and tended to spend a much greater time playing video games (an average of four extra hours a week for boys). Girls who drink energy drinks spend an average of two extra hours a week playing video games and are more likely to skip breakfast.
Study author Nicole Larson warns parents about the dangers of teens consuming energy drinks of a regular basis. She says, “Energy drinks really don't offer any benefits for teens, and they create a risk for overstimulation of the nervous system. There have been studies linking energy drink consumption in kids this age to seizures, irregular heart rhythms and in rare, cases death.” Larson adds, “So if parents see some empty cans lying around, that might be a good time to encourage some more positive beverage options.”
Do you and your family drink energy or sports drinks?
Do you try to limit your teen’s consumption of these types of beverages?